Armed and Dangerous!

As you know from an earlier post, I’ve had my share of problems with Italian flyswatters. If you didn’t already read it, you might want to check out the April story called “Fly Me to the Moon—Please,” as a suggested prerequisite to this follow-up story. Since many of you felt my pain in trying to use the wimpy traditional Italian swatters, I thought it was only fair to share some good news as well. Our luck in the domain of flies took a turn for the better on Tuesday morning when we went to Molin del Piano. Let me explain.

wimpy at best
wimpy at best

Molino is a little town in the valley near us. It means “mill of the plain,” which translates into “mill valley.” We go there every couple of weeks when we need some ordinary hardware stuff, or something a little on the unusual side. Our friends Fabio and Manuele are brothers who run the family ferramenta/mesticaria, hardware and housewares store in the center of the small town. If possible, we always try to find our sundries there first, since we like supporting the local shop-owners whenever we can.

Italy’s best hardware store

We stopped at their place on our way back from Sieci, hoping to buy a roll of duct tape (just to have on hand) and a pump to inflate our new air mattress. They only had two rolls of duct tape left on the shelf in the tiny back room, so we nabbed one. But as chance would have it, they had NO pumps in stock, which meant, they had to order one—pick-up on Thursday. However, we always add one week to the stated delivery date just to make sure. After all, this is Italy, where logic seems to follow some obtuse story problem. You know the type: “If a train is traveling at 65 km per hour and another is approaching from the other direction at 50 km per hour, at what time of day will the dining car begin serving coffee?”

Cocked and ready for action

We were standing at the counter while Fabio totaled up the bill. While waiting, Cheryl started nosing around as usual, since she’s a real scrounger in places like that. Honestly, she could spend all day picking around at the back of each shelf searching for obscure and curious paraphernalia. The next thing I knew, she was handing Fabio a gray and red object,  “Che cosa questa, what is this? she asked. With a slight grin he demonstrated the ingenious technique of their new hi-tech fly swatter. Near the front of the swatter was a little finger loop. When pulled toward the shooter, the swatter became “cocked.” Then with the pull of the trigger, the 2 red plastic hands clapped together. It was incredible, and made all of us laugh out loud.

Built-in target

The really cool thing is that it has a little bulls-eye on one of the swatter hands indicating the number of points scored depending on the accuracy of the hit. 25 points are awarded for a near escape by the little pest, 50 points for making the swat more accurately, and finally 100 for a perfect bulls-eye, surely by a sharpshooter. And of course, having an actual trigger is great fun, not to mention the little red hand-shaped smackers that do the deed. It was a designers delight, but could we afford it?

Well, needless to say, we both knew that we had to have it. We looked at each other with those quizzical, questioning eyebrows, silently testing as only long-time partners can, to see if it was worth 2.50 euro. It was relatively easy to decide since we had recently experienced such frustration with our current fly-swatting equipment. Hi-tech sounded really good to us right then, so in a fit of spontaneity, we bought it.

Operating manual

We arrived at home 20 minutes later with a great deal of anticipation and excitement. I cut the tag from the handle and read the operating instructions carefully. I laid it on the wall outside and sat down, like a cowboy keeping his rifle within arms length . . . and then waited patiently. Nothing. I sat there for a long time and not one fly or insect came anywhere near me. Maybe they saw the new gray and red contraption and decided to lay low for a while. Whether I get to use it or not doesn’t really matter, although, I have to admit it would be fun to pull the trigger on an unsuspecting passerby. I’m sure at some point I’ll have the thrill of that victory. But for now, maybe just the visible threat is enough.

At the ready

Though the buzzing has momentarily stopped, I remain alert and at the ready with visions of a peaceful and fly-less domicile. Be warned: I am armed and dangerous—will keep you posted.


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